MTHS Blog

Mountain Top Historical Society Events 2016

Visit our Hikes Page for other activities.

Saturday, May 7: Campus Clean-up Day. Beginning at 9:00 a.m. we'll be staging work crews in the Visitors' Center, in the train station, in the barn and around the grounds to get ready for our 2016 season. Many hands make light work! Please plan to be there to pitch in for a few hours. The weather will be fine!

 May 22 (Sun.) The Annual Spring Fling. Forest Meditation Walk at the Mountain Top Arboretum followed by Tea and a Tea Talk at Washington Irving Inn. Thanks to Joan Kutcher for hosting the Arboretum Walk and Johanna Titus and Stephania Jozic for arranging and hosting the Tea and Talk. Tea and Talk presented by Cathrine Titus Felix, Chef and former food editor of Victoria Homes Magazine. Tea $25, RSVP by May 17 at (518) 589-6657 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

July 15 (Friday) Peter Jung Lecture - America's First Landscape: The Hudson River and Kaaterskill Clove. 7:00 pm at the Twilight Clubhouse. Our thanks to Twilight Cottagers for hosting this event.

August 20 (Sat.) – Open House – details to follow 

Sept. 10 (Sat.) Hudson River Ramble - Hike and Booksigning - The Catskills, A Geological Guide by Johanna and Robert Titus.  Hike to Sunset Rock by hike leader Robert Titus, with a book-talk and signing by Johanna & Robert Titus for the new expanded edition of The Catskills: A Geological Guide at the Ulster & Delaware Train Station. Hike is moderate level of difficulty and should return by 3:30 p.m.  Book-talk/signing and reception to follow.   

September 17 (Sat.)Fifth Annual Post Card Show will be held at the Train Station from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Food will be available. The MTHS will also be selling ephemera from its attic in a special sale. A $3.00 entry fee will be charged at the door.  

Walk back in time on one of our popular hikes through the High Peaks of the Catskills. These were America's first hiking trails whose beauty was immortalized in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper and romanticized in the poetry of William Cullen Bryant. The breathtaking views seen along these trails today were first captured in the 19th century by the premiere artists of the Hudson River School of art, our country's uniquely American school of landscape painting.

MTHS hikes are conducted by volunteers knowledgeable about the area and include historical narrative and insider information, the result of years of study about the area’s trails, overlooks and historic sites. Robert Gildersleeve, author of the Catskill Mountain House Trail Guide, is a frequent hike leader. Bob Titus, the Catskill Geologist and author of The Catskills: A Geological Guide, leads a few hikes every season as well.

The trails, the views and the history are still here, preserved by New York State's designation of the Catskills as lands to remain forever wild. A walk through the woods with MTHS makes the past come alive for those who are adventurous and want to see and hear the story of America's first wilderness for themselves. All hikes are free and the public is invited. Please wear proper hiking attire and boots (no sneakers!), pack a lunch, don't forget rain gear or sunscreen, and bring plenty of water.

2016 Hike Schedule

 

Event dates and most details have been set. We are working on finalizing our plans for some of the late season hikes. Always check back as the hikes that interest you approach.

April 30 (Sat) Shaupeneak Ridge Led by Mike Lanspery. Shaupeneak Ridge, near Esopus, NY South of Kingston is part of the Marlboro Mountains, the ridge that extends between the Hudson River and the Shawangunks. This is our first hike in the Marlboro Mountains. Mike tells us the planned route of 3.25 miles over all or parts of 3 trails should be easy to moderate, with views of the Hudson River. More information about the Shaupeneak Ridge Park can be found at Scenic Hudson's website and at the NYNJ Trails Conference website. Register by calling MTHS at (518) 589-6657 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Meet at the Esopus Fire Dept parking area 1142 Broadway, Esopus at 10:00 am. Return around 3:00 pm. Bring lunch, water, and appropriate hiking shoes.

June 4 (Sat.) – National Trails' Day - Harding Road and Kaaterskill Escarpment Rim Led by Bob Gildersleeve.

Inspiration PointLong referred to as "The Road that Couldn't be Built," Harding's Road from Palenville to the Hotel Kaaterskill (we will save the Hotel site for another time) in some ways mirrors the better-known Mountain Turnpike to the Catskill Mountain House. The road climbs about 1200 ft in 2.2 miles before reaching the rim of Kaaterskill Clove (photo on left) and a beautiful 1.5 mile walk along the rim to a few cars which we will have ready to shuttle hikers back to the starting point. Meet at the Mountain Top Historical Society campus at 9:00 am. Return around 4:00 pm. If you can leave a car at Scutt road for the return shuttle please let us know and leave contact information. Register with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

June 18 (Sat.) Kierstead Tannery. Bob Gildersleeve and Paul LaPierre bring their experience and knowledge to an exploration of the tannery ruins and the streams and waterfalls in Kaaterskill Clove. Difficult due to rough terrain and a steep climb over loose ground and some possible slippery wet spots. Wear proper footwear; a walking stick or poles are recommended. Meet 11:00 AM at the MTHS campus. A shorter hike than last year's, we will concentrate on the tannery itself and return to the Society campus by 3:00pm for a talk by Paul Misko on the Impact of Tanneries on the Catskills. Register for the hike by calling MTHS at (518) 589-6657 (leave name/phone number/# in party) or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

July 9 (Sat.) Thacher State Park.  NYS Museum geologist Chuck Ver Straeten and Thacher Park naturalist Nancy Engel will co-lead a 3 hour hike through John Boyd Thacher State Park in Voorheesville.  Meet in the Paint Mine parking area, south side of Rt. 157 at 10:30 a.m. for an 11:00 a.m. start.  If that lot is full, the Mine Lot parking area is across the street.  The hike will follow the Indian Ladder Trail and Mine Lot Creek through scenic glens, past impressive sinkholes, and other beautiful views and geological features.  Bring a lunch, water and wear good hiking shoes. NO dogs please. Register with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 518-589-6657.

July 23 (Sat) Woodland Valley History and Geology Hike. Paul Misko  and Bob Titus team  once again for a great hike in Woodland Valley.  Along the way to a great view we will check out some  geological features, and examine some remains of human activity. We might even find some wild orchids too. This is a moderate/ difficult bushwhack of about 4 miles total, and goes from 10-4 p.m. NO Dogs Please. More details upon registration at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Note the change to the Hunter Mountain Hike.
You Must re-register.

August 7 (Sun.) Hunter Mountain. Catskill 4000 Club hike leader Paul Misko will lead us up the Catskill's second highest peak, to a fantastic view from a fire tower. Along the way we'll learn about the mountain's disturbing and funny history. This is a VERY strenuous hike of about 8 miles total, and goes from 10:00 - 5 p.m. NO Dogs Please. More details upon registration at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

MTHS Hike - Sept. 10 (Sat.) Hudson River Ramble - Hike and Booksigning The Catskills, A Geological Guide by Johanna and Robert Titus. Hike to Sunset Rock by hike leader Robert Titus, with a book-talk and signing by Johanna & Robert Titus for the new expanded edition of The Catskills: A Geological Guide at the Ulster & Delaware Train Station. Hike will meet at the MTHS campus at 1:00 pm, is moderate level of difficulty, and should return by 3:30 pm. Booksigning and reception to follow.

October 8 Hikefest Kaaterskill Rail Trail and the Falls. Exciting things are happening since we explored the Rail Trail and Falls last year. Plans for our contribution to the Lark in the Park will develop and be announced as the highly anticipated changes come in to clearer view.
 

MTHS does not require membership for hike participation. We do however request that you register for each hike. Participants can register on our contacts page or by calling (518) 589-6657. Please leave your name, phone number, and total in your party. Schedule subject to change. The latest information is available on our web site http://www.mths.org. Notification of changes, including cancellations due to weather will be made on the web site up to the day of any given hike.

 

 

The Mountain Top Historical Society’s Art Trail Interpretive Center, Kaaterskill Falls and the site of the Catskill Mountain House are all stops along the Hudson River School Art Trail. The  trail recreates for visitors today the views painted yesterday by the Hudson River School artists and includes the homes of artists Thomas Cole in Catskill and Frederick Church in Hudson. Trail sites are within a 15-miles radius and are accessible by both auto and foot.

Catskill/Hudson

Trail Site 1 Thomas Cole Historic Site*— Home and studio of the artist Thomas Cole, 218 Spring Street, Catskill.
Trail Site 2 The Olana State Historic Site*— Home and work place of artist Frederick Church, Route 9G, Hudson.
Trail Site 3 Catskill Creek— Scenic  view, west side of Route 9W,  Catskill, 1000 ft. past Jefferson Heights ramp.

Town of Hunter

Trail Site 4 Kaaterskill Clove— NYS Scenic Byway,  Route 23A , 2 miles west of  traffic light in Palenville.
Trail Site 5 Kaaterskill Falls— Scenic view,  Route 23A, four miles west of traffic light in Palenville.

The Mountain Top Historical Society* Art Trail Center and historic 1913 Train Station are located on Route 23A, on the right, 2.5 miles from Kaaterskill Falls, a favorite destination of the Hudson River School artists.

The Mountain Top Historical Society campus is located at the top of Kaaterskill Clove, just a couple of miles from the site of the famed Catskill Mountain House.  The footprint of what was once the grandest hotel in country is in North-South Lake Public Campground, two miles from the MTHS campus,  down  North Lake  Road.   Although the hotel has been gone for 50 years, the panoramic view of the Hudson can still be seen from the wide ledge overlooking the river.

North-South Lake Campground

Trail Site 6 North-South Lake — Scenic view, bear left, then right at first stop sign past gatehouse, park by recreation center.
Trail Site 7 Sunset Rock— Scenic view, access off North Beach parking area, left on the blue-blaze escarpment trail.
Trail Site 8 Catskill Mountain House — Scenic view, access off North Beach parking area. Walk towards picnic pavilion, away from lake, then walk up the hill.

 

*Art Trail maps with complete directions are available at these locations and at the Greene County Visitor Information Center,  Exit 21, NYS Thruway, Route 23, Leeds, NY.

 

Walk back in time on one of our popular hikes through the High Peaks of the Catskills.  These were America's first hiking trails whose beauty was immortalized in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper and romanticized in the poetry of William Cullen Bryant.  The breathtaking views seen along these trails today were first captured in the 19th century by the premiere artists of the Hudson River School of art, our country's uniquely American school of landscape painting.

MTHS hikes are conducted by volunteers knowledgeable about the area and include historical narrative and insider information, the result of years of study about the area’s trails, overlooks and historic sites.  Robert Gildersleeve, author of the Catskill Mountain House Trail Guide, is a frequent hike leader. Bob Titus, the Catskill Geologist and author of The Catskills: A Geological Guide, leads a few hikes every season as well.

The trails, the views and the history are still here, preserved by New York State's designation of the Catskills as lands to remain forever wild.  A walk through the woods with MTHS makes the past come alive for those who are adventurous and want to see and hear the story of America's first wilderness for themselves.  All hikes are free and the public is invited. Please wear proper hiking attire and boots (no sneakers!), pack a lunch, don't forget rain gear or sunscreen, and bring plenty of water.

 

2014 Hike Schedule

April 5 (Sat.) – Postponed. Waterfall Hike, After reviewing tail conditions we've decided to postpone this hike. We will reschedule if possible. Please check back.
Combination of auto and foot tour of area waterfalls. Meet MTHS Campus 9am – 3pm. Construction and parking restrictions in Kaaterskill Clove will limit our ability to visit some of the falls in the Clove. We will visit Kaaterskill Falls, but Faun's Leap will not be on this year's walk. Short climbs, Easy/Moderate, 3 miles.

May 17 Kaaterskill Rail Trail and Laurel House Grounds. Part of our Spring Fling with additional activities at the Historical Society grounds in Haines Falls. Full details to be announced.

June 7 (Sat.) – National Trails Day. Rip's Retreat. A morning illustrated presentation will orient participants to Rip's Retreat and, following a lunch at our historic U & D Railroad Station, prepare them to explore the site of this 1950s tourist attraction. We will find some of the few signs of the buildings that once occupied the picnic area at North Lake and follow the path of the amusement's miniature train ride now hidden in the woods just downhill along the stage road that, from the 1820s to the 1940s led to The Catskill Mountain House. An easy, family friendly hike. The route of the train ride has some overgrown areas and may be wet or muddy. Led by Bob Gildersleeve. See our Events Page for further details and information on the Lunch.

June 21 (Sat.)  Sam's Point Ice Caves. Hike with Catskill 4000 Club leader Paul Misko and famed Catskill Geologist Dr. Robert Titus to the Sam's Point Ice Caves in Cragsmoor. Sam's Point, a nature preserve managed by the Nature Conservancy located on the Shawangunk Ridge, was preserved for its unique ecological and geological significance. It offers magnificent views along several miles of mostly level trails. Dr. Titus will describe the extensive geological features of the rocks of the Ridge and the ice caves. Mr. Misko will share the colorful history of Sam's Point. Level: Easy to moderate, with added difficulty in the Ice Caves due to rocky and slippery spots. (Yaktraks or microspikes recommended.)
Group size limited to 12. No dogs please. Length: 3 miles. Time: 4-5 hours. Register no later than Friday, June 20, with Paul Misko at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or with the MTHS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 518-589-6679. Directions to meeting spot will be sent upon registration.
Meeting time: 9:45 a.m. There is a $10 parking fee per car. Carpooling is recommended due to the small size of the lot.

July 5 (Sat.) Tiskilwa Park. [Hike is limited to no more than TWENTY people and REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.] A guided hike through private lands and trails in Chichester of the former "Tiskilwa Park." The morning will begin with a short but steep climb (800 vertical ft) to the expansive views from Crow Hill, before descending to the Ox Clove Creek, where we'll explore what's left of the road and bridge system built by former furniture factory owner William O. Schwarzwaelder.  Hike will be lead by landowner,local historian and former newspaper guy Brian Powers. Half-day, moderate, with options for less or more. The hike will be  followed by a visit to the Empire State Railway Museum in Phoenicia. Meet 9:00 am at the Empire State Railway Museum (follow this link for directions) in Phoenicia, NY. We will carpool to the trail head, just a few minutes away and return after the hike for a tour of the museum.

July 19 (Sat.) Terrace Mountain The hike formerly scheduled for Wittenberg Mountain has been changed to Terrace Mountain. This hike includes some interesting sights, and a lot of fascinating Catskill history. Topics will include John Burroughs, Jimmy Simpson, forest fires, bark peelers, a hotel that almost was, and much more.  Meeting time will still be 9:30 a.m., at the Woodland Valley Campground Day Use Lot, but get there a bit earlier to purchase your parking permit at the ranger's office. Total  hike distance is about 5 miles and 6 hours. Bring lunch, drinks, lighter, flashlight, rainjacket, camera. NO DOGS PLEASE. Register no later than Thursday July 17, with Paul Misko at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or with the MTHS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 518-589-6679. As always, changes or cancellations will be announced on this site up to the morning of the hike.

August 2 (Sat.) Austin Glen Rail History and Geology Walk This very special area in Catskill and Leeds was the location of the Catskill Mountain Railroad and is a fascinating and important geological area. Led by Dr. Robert Titus, Bob Gildersleeve, Miklos Salgo and others to be announced. Meet NYS Thruway Exit 21 Parking Lot Catskill, NY at 9:00 am. We will carpool to the trailhead about 1/4 mile away. Following the hike, Miklos has invited participants to his home overlooking Glacial Lake Leeds for refreshments and a light lunch. Hike is rated Easy to Moderate and will take about 2 to 3 hours.

August 16 (Sat.) Blackhead Led by Dave and Carol White, authors of Catskill Day Hikes for All Seasons. Loop Hike over Blackhead Mountain:  Enjoy spectacular views, rushing brooks, a lean-to, scenic rock formations, and a delicious spring on four routes over one of the Catskill Forest Preserve's highest peaks, 3,940-foot Blackhead Mountain.  This is a 5.1-mile hike with an ascent of  1800 feet.  Some sections are very steep with occasional challenging areas and tricky footing; this hike is rated 'Difficult.'  Bring lunch, snacks, water, and wear good boots.  Hike duration, including all stops, up to five hours.  We will meet at the parking lot in C.D. Lane Park (formerly Batavia Kill Day Use Area) about 1.5 miles east of Maplecrest, Big Hollow Road, at 9:00.

Sept. 13 (Sat.)South Mountain Led by Bob Gildersleeve. Edward West, said the trails on South Mountain had the best views for the least effort of any trails in the Catskills. We will explore these views along easy to moderate trails of about 4.0 miles with a possible excursion of another 2 miles. Meet at the Mountain Top Historical Society's Campus on Route 23A in Haines Falls at 9:00 am.

October 11 Hikefest Several hikes in the Central Catskills see our blog for details.

MTHS does not require membership for hike participation. We do however request that you register for each hike. Participants can register at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (518) 589-6657. Please leave your name, phone number, and total in your party. Schedule subject to change. The latest information is available on our web site http://www.mths.org. For last-minute questions call Bob at (518) 734-9701. Notification of changes, including weather cancellations will be made on the web site up to the day of any given hike.